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Government Information   Tags: census, federal, govdocs, government, legislation, parks, state  

Government information tips and resources by subject and type
Last Updated: May 19, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Finding Government Documents

Federal government information is still making its way online. Recent reports are often available online, but historical materials are slowly being digitized by agencies, libraries, and corporate vendors. The majority of historic government information is available in print at this time.

Tracking down older government information can be challenging (but worthwhile). Items from 1976-present should be in the library catalog, but items prior to 1976 are not necessarily in the catalog. The library is working on getting records for all of its government documents in the catalog, but it will take time to reflect 200 years worth of material in the catalog. If there isn't a record for the item you want in the catalog, the library may still own it; remember the 1976-present limitation. Try WorldCat, the digital Serial Set, or some of the print indexes to track down a call number.

You can always ask the Government Documents librarian for help in finding a government report. This is why we're here.

  • Library Catalog
    The Mansfield Library catalog coverage lists government publications 1976-present with incomplete but expanding coverage of pre-1976 publications. To locate pre-1976 documents, other finding tools are necessary.
  • WorldCat  
    WorldCat is an excellent tool for tracking down historic government documents, and many records include SuDoc numbers, the call numbers used for government publications at the library. Note the SuDoc number in the catalog record & check the shelves.
  • ProQuest Congressional (Formerly LexiNexis)
    This database provides excellent access (1789-present) to Congressional hearings & select legislative histories. Provides call numbers for hearings and citation information for the Serial Set. Note the Serial Set volume number & the document number.
  • U.S. Congressional Serial Set
    A treasure trove for historic government reports, this resource includes agency and exploration reports, publications of special commissions, bill reports, executive branch correspondence, and much more. The database allows full-text access to reports.
  • HeinOnline
    This database provides the full text of all Supreme Court opinions, the U.S. Statutes at Large (all public and private laws), treaties and agreements, Presidential documents, the Code of Federal Regulations, and the Federal Register.
  • HeinOnline: American Indian Law Collection
    With more than 700 unique titles and 750,000 pages dedicated to American Indian Law, this collection includes an expansive archive of treaties, federal statutes and regulations, federal case law, tribal codes, constitutions, and jurisprudence.This collection also includes legislative histories and links to scholarly articles. Access provided by the UM Law School.
  • HeinOnline: U.S. Congressional Documents Library
    Full text of the Congressional Globe (1833-1873), Congressional Record (1873-present), Statutes at Large (U.S. laws), American State Papers, Territorial Papers of the U.S. and more. Access provided by the UM Law School.
  • HeinOnline: U.S. Federal Agency Library
    Decisions, opinions, and orders of many federal agencies. Access provided by the UM Law School.
  • Catalog of Government Publications (CGP)
    This is the update to the Monthly Catalog of U.S. Government Publications. It covers documents from 1976 through the present, and provides links to new reports on the web. This is a free database.
  • FDSys
    The successor to GPO Access, the Federal Digital System (FDSys) provides access to the Congressional Record, bills & laws, Presidential reports, the Federal Register, & the CFR from around the mid-1990's through the present.
  • is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state, and local government web resources and services. As the catalyst for a growing electronic government, helps citizens navigate through government red tape. At, you can apply for benefits online, contact a government agency, or use the Internet's most comprehensive search of government websites—all from one easy location. This is a free database.

Additional Useful Databases

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